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Knowledge and Skills to Support the New Remote Workplace

16 April 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic means the digital workplace has become the new reality and the associated changes are impacting upon all managers, leaders and employees.

Change can be a positive experience, even when it’s outside of your control, but the majority of people will not be working in the same way, or in the same location, or even for the same hours. These factors mean that roles and responsibilities become more challenging, more taxing on the business and more difficult for everyone.

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As a result, leadership teams in all sectors may benefit from knowledge and skills in Leading in Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) Times. Staff may find it helpful and beneficial to better understand and cope with their Individual Change Journey. Managers and leaders may need advice and guidance on the new skills and behaviours necessary to Manage Remote Teams and Workers.

Working remotely can be an isolating and stressful experience when ‘business as usual’, but at this time, particularly more so. It is worth noting the distinction that we are not working from home, we are at home during a crisis and trying to get constructive work done. Setting meaningful and considerate SMART Objectives can give people structure and purpose.

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Bloomberg reported in March 2020 that remote workers in the U.S., Spain, Australia, and elsewhere are working an average of two extra hours per day as a result of social-distancing policies. Without the benefit of set ‘start’ and ‘finish’ times, sending "just one more email" can be too tempting — or worse, can be something your manager now expects.

It is fundamental to plan and undertake Effective Communication – but don’t rigidly hold to a set of rules that may not work in the home environment and expect that you (or your colleagues) will be at the same level of productivity. Be considerate of different individual’s situations and how they might be feeling.

Are members of your team – yourself included - undertaking too many hours of isolated and dedicated screen time? Neglecting to have breaks and infrequently getting up and moving? Ensure people are transparent about their needs during this time and try to set examples for employees; if you or they need to log off for an hour, to decompress or supervise a child, communicate this flexibility and be open about it.

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There are significant benefits using video chats, rather than phone calls for all conversations, work or social, because these keep us connected and provide social interaction that can be highly beneficial in helping our minds to cope. There are, however, key skills required to Getting the Most out Of Your Remote Meetings.

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Make efforts to discuss ‘normal’ things - when we’re thinking and talking about the current challenges all the time it can reinforce worried thoughts and anxiety about what might happen to us, to our family, to the world, most of which is speculation! With real world distractions and focus, we can help to maintain our wellbeing and use Mindfulness to regain balance in the present priorities and know that right now, we’re OK. There are significant benefits in all staff having at least basic Mental Health Awareness.

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Your team may need support with skill enhancements in order to improve their Personal Productivity and in terms of improved performance, learn some of the skills, behaviours and Habits of Highly Effective People.

Now is a great time to use regular catch-ups to broaden the professional dialogue around development: what people feel they need to do their job effectively, and what skills the organisation would like them to work on. The training needs of employees fall within a domain of things that can be assessed and evaluated within your control and successful delivery will accrue significant business benefits.

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Eliesha has a portfolio of training interventions relevant to this context: all of those highlighted above are available in the form of a interactive webinar session that will deliver targeted and engaging learning to your workforce, however dispersed or remotely located they are.

Eliesha has an effective range of digital deliveries, tools and materials available to learners, including our popular microlearning series pearls of wisdom®, online learning for ILM and CMI accredited qualifications and online coaching up to an executive level.

We keep training activities social and collaborative, interactive, practically focused and engaging.

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